Careful readers of the cocktail posts by the MBartender may have noticed our frequent use of orange bitters, the classic choice for bitters. Unfortunately, the local Pulaski, WI taverns haven't fully embraced the growing trend in upscale bars to brew their own bitters, so we have to rely on what we can get shipped in via FedEx. We reviewed the three orange bitters we are able to have delivered to our northern Wisconsin offices.
Angostura Orange Bitters (right)
The subtle orange taste is overwhelmed by a candy-like cardamom flavor. Certainly acceptable, but you can do better.
Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters (center)
This had the strongest and cleanest orange flavor, but lacked any interesting aromatics. The Jessica Alba of orange bitters? This would be fine for tossing in a few dashes into a strongly flavored drink like a Negroni, but lacks the required complexity to properly enhance a well-structured martini.
Regans' Orange Bitters (left)
We might have given these bitters the nod simply based on the admirable and magnificent quest by Gary Regan to develop the perfect orange bitters. Easy for us, after several attempts and the aid of the Sazerac company, he succeeded. These bitters combine an appealing orange flavor with sophisticated aromatics that feature a pleasant emphasis on caraway. These are the bitters that are going to bring out the depth of flavors in both the premium gin and vermouth in your martini.